Toronto’s minor league affiliates went a combined 5-3 over the last two days, and practically all the games were close. Here’s your Blue Jays complete prospect report for Wednesday, May 2 and Thursday, May 3.
Highlights include a pair of wins in Las Vegas, a walk-off win in Dunedin and good pitching, as usual, from Lansing.
Wins/Losses: 12-16 | Streak: W2 | 3rd in PCL Pacific South division (9.0 GB)
May 2: Las Vegas 51s 12, Reno Aces 4 – WP: Chavez (4-1, 2.38)
After already being ahead by three runs and scoring five more for good measure in the top of the ninth inning, the 51s topped Reno 12-4 on Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game set.
Outside of the 15 runs that the 51s’ offense scored on April 28, the 12 they put up against Reno was their biggest offensive showing in three weeks.
Left fielder Danny Perales exploded for a season-high four hits and four RBI, including his first home run of the season in the second inning. Cleanup hitter Moises Sierra finished 3-for-5 with three singles, a walk and an RBI, Travis d’Arnaud went 1-for-5 with a double and a walk, Yan Gomes hit a pair of singles and Ricardo Nanita hit a bases-clearing, three-run double in the ninth.
After drawing a pair of walks Tuesday night, Anthony Gose, hitting second behind Adeiny Hechavarria, drew three walks and went 1-for-2. Gose managed to rack up three RBI as well after hitting a sacrifice fly in the fourth, a RBI single in the sixth (advancing to second on the throw and promptly stealing third, his ninth bag of the year) and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the seventh.
51s starter Jesse Chavez was effective yet again as he limited Reno’s offense to just one earned run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and six strikeouts to earn the win.
Though he pitched out of the bullpen for the Jays in spring training and has been a reliever for almost his entire professional career, Chavez has quietly been putting together a solid campaign as a starter for Las Vegas and could very well be on the radar to be called up to make a spot start for the Jays in the event of an injury. The California native how has a rotation-best 2.38 ERA in six starts with 21 hits and 36 strikeouts in 34 innings. The right-hander has allowed one earned run or less in each of his last three starts, and opposing hitters have managed a mere .175 average off of him so far this year.
Robert Coello gave up three earned runs on three hits with two walks while recording just two outs in relief, but Ryota Igarashi continued to impress, this time with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Chad Beck notched his second save of the season despite issuing three walks.
May 3: Las Vegas 51s 5, Reno Aces 4 – WP: Korecky (1-0, 3.50) S: Loup (1)
After scoring four runs in the first, the 51s were able to curb a late Reno rally at three to squeak away with the 5-4 victory and series win on Thursday night.
With some help from a throwing error from Aces third baseman Taylor Harbin, the 51s enjoyed a four-run first inning after hitting four singles and drawing a walk.
With his RBI single with the bases loaded that inning, Yan Gomes extended his hitting streak to six games. He’s hit safely in nine of his last 10 games including five multi-hit contests, and hit .385 with eight extra-base hits and a 1.147 OPS over that span. After playing third base on Tuesday and first base on Wednesday, Gomes returned behind the plate to his most familiar position at catcher for his third position in three days, and his versatility, combined with offensive performance, has to be opening eyes down in Las Vegas.
All seven of Las Vegas’ hits were singles on this unspectacular offensive night, with second baseman Ruben Gotay having the best game with a single, two RBI, a walk and two stolen bases.
The Blue Jays called up Joel Carreno a few days ago and since it was his night to pitch on, 51s reliever Andrew Carpenter opened the contest instead and tossed two scoreless innings. Bill Murphy allowed one earned run on four hits in three innings, Bobby Korecky earned the win after allowing no runs in two innings, and Chad Beck earned his third save of the season with a perfect ninth.
Left-handed reliever Evan Crawford, who was optioned by the Blue Jays to Triple-A earlier this week, allowed three earned runs on three hits with two walks in two thirds of an inning in his first appearance with the 51s.
Wins/Losses: 11-15 | Streak: L2 | 5th in EAS Eastern division (7.0 GB)
May 2: Reading Phillies 4, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2 – LP: Wright (0-1, 3.18)
After scoring a pair of runs early, the Fisher Cats gave up four unanswered runs as they fell to Reading 4-2 on Wednesday night.
It was a quiet night for New Hampshire’s bats, as their six hits were split evenly across six different hitters. Justin Jackson plated both runs with his triple in the second inning, while catcher A.J. Jimenez hit his third double of the season. Left fielder Brad McElroy went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but he saved a run in the top of the ninth with an outfield assist on a throw to the plate.
Fisher Cats starter Ryan Tepera lasted only three innings and issued three walks, but allowed only a pair of earned runs on four hits. Reliever Matt Wright allowed one unearned run in two solid innings of work, but was handed the tough-luck loss after Reading center fielder reached base on a throwing error, stole second, and scored the go-ahead run on a double.
Sidearm left-hander Aaron Loup continues to thrive in his somewhat lefty specialist role, as he recorded one out in the eighth and now has not allowed a run in 13 1/3 innings this season thanks to the movement on his fastball and curveball.
May 3: Reading Phillies 8, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 6 – LP: Uviedo, 1-1, 2.84)
After taking a 5-0 lead by the end of the third inning, the Fisher Cats’ bullpen gave up the go-ahead runs in a late rally from Phillies as New Hampshire fell to Reading 8-6 on Thursday night for their third loss in the four-game series.
The Fisher Cats got things started right away in the first, when Ryan Goins led off with a single and Jonathan Diaz walked. First baseman Mike McDade promptly knocked in the first run with a single, before Brian Van Kirk chipped in a RBI single of his own later in the frame to put New Hampshire up 2-0.
The Fisher Cats extended their lead in the third inning, when Diaz reached base after being hit by a pitch and McDade followed that up with a two-run homer to right field, his second of the season. After Mark Sobolewski reached on an error and stole second, Van Kirk, who finished 3-for-4, cashed him in with a double for his second RBI of the game.
Making his third Double-A start, right-hander Casey Lawrence finished two outs shy of a quality start after he was pulled in the sixth following a leadoff single and a fly out. Matt Daly came on in relief and quickly allowed a pair of singles around a wild pitch that let Lawrence’s runner score. Overall, Lawrence was charged with three earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
Daly also walked a batter and was charged with an earned run of his own, so he was pulled in favor of Aaron Loup after failing to record an out. Loup got his fourth hold of the year with a scoreless inning of work, before Clint Everts allowed his first run of the season and Ronald Uviedo allowed three runs (two earned) late in the game to get tagged with the loss.
Wins/Losses: 20-7 | Streak: W2 | 1st in FSL North division (6.0 GM lead)
May 2: Dunedin Blue Jays 6, Clearwater Threshers 4 – WP: Barnes (1-0, 2.25)
After tying the game with a two-run seventh inning, the D-Jays scored two more in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with the 6-4 victory over Lakeland on Wednesday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Ryan Schimpf was the hero in this game, twice! The 24-year-old smacked a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, and then with one out and a runner on, smacked his second two-run homer of the game to right field that put the Jays ahead to walk off with the win. Schimpf has hit three home runs in his last five games and 10 of his 18 hits this season have been for extra bases, so the 5-foot-9, 181-pound second baseman has been showcasing some unexpected power as of late.
Kevin Nolan was the only other Dunedin Jay to record a multi-hit game, hitting two singles with a walk and a RBI.
Dunedin starter John Stilson was capped at three innings in a strong performance, allowing one earned run on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts. His only mistake came in the third inning when he surrendered a two-out solo home run to Lakeland third baseman Nick Castellanos, who currently leads the ALL of the minor leagues with a .426 batting average. The homer was the first one off Stilson this season, and the right-hander has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his six starts.
May 3: Dunedin Blue Jays 5, Lakeland Flying Tigers 3 – WP: Nolin (4-0, 2.76) S: Barnes (10)
After giving up a run in each of the first three frames, the D-Jays were able to hold Lakeland off the scoreboard for the final six innings to hang on for a 5-3 on Thursday night.
Dunedin’s offense was out-hit 14-7, with catcher Jack Murphy going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Michael Crouse roped a two-run double, Marcus Knecht went 2-for-4 with a double, and Kevin Nolan hit a double of his own while also stealing his fourth base of the season. Both Knecht’s and Nolan’s doubles were their eighth on the year.
Going up against Lakeland starter and Detroit Tigers top prospect Jacob Turner, Sean Nolin put together another solid outing for Dunedin and improved to 4-0 on the season. He gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits in five innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.
Dayton Marze allowed two strikeouts and struck out one in 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Boomer Potts walked the only batter he faced, and Scott Gracey collected three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. Danny Barnes, one of my personal favorites, allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth to earn his 10th save of the season.
Wins/Losses: 19-8 | Streak: L1 | 1st in MID Eastern division (3.0 GM lead)
May 2: Great Lakes Loons 7, Lansing Lugnuts 1 – LP: DeSclafani (2-1, 3.32)
Held in check by Great Lakes starter Jarrett Martin, the Lugnuts couldn’t get anything going offensively and ultimately fell to the Loons 7-1 on Wednesday night.
The Lugnuts managed only one run on five hits, though three were of the extra base variety. Andy Burns and Kevin Pillar each slapped doubles, while Kenny Wilson hit his second home run of the season in the ninth inning to plate the only run of the game for Lansing and break the shutout.
Throwing a season-high four innings, Lugnuts starter Anthony DeSclafani ran into trouble early when he gave up a leadoff single, threw a wild pitch, and committed a throwing error on a grounder to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Another single, error (from Burns), and double followed that sequence, putting Great Lakes up 2-0 in the process. A ground out and double play swiftly ended the inning, but without allowing another run to score to put the Lugnuts in a 3-0 hole early.
Though DeSclafani had 1-2-3 innings in the second and fourth, he ran into more trouble in the third, when a single and double scored another run. A passed ball from catcher Carlos Perez and a walk put runners on the corners once again, but DeSclafani induced a pop out to end the threat, finishing the night having allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout. It was the third time this season that DeSclafani had been scored on in an outing.
Noah Syndergaard came on in relief and was close to recording another dominant, run-free outing. After giving up a leadoff single in the fifth, Syndergaard struck out the side swinging before stranding a runner in a scoreless sixth. Then, after retiring the first two batters he faced in the seventh, Syndergaard got the next batter to pop up into foul territory along first base, but Pillar ended up dropping the ball and the inning continued.
That proved to be costly, as Syndergaard served up a two-run home run followed by a single and double that scored three runs in total. After getting his fifth swinging strikeout of the night to end the inning, Syndergaard finished the night having allowed three runs (all unearned) on five hits with one walk, five strikeouts and a home run.
May 3: Lansing Lugnuts 6, Great Lakes Loons 5 – WP: Champlin (2-1, 3.71) S: Meyer (10)
In a wild, back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change four times and neither team lead by more than one run, the Lugnuts were able to come out on top with the 6-5 victory over Great Lakes on Thursday night.
Hitting second in the order for only the second time this season, left fielder Chris Hawkins paced the Lugnuts offense with a 3-for-5 showing that included a double and a RBI. The double was the Lugnuts only extra-base hit, but first baseman K.C. Hobson chipped in with a RBI single and Carlos Perez also recorded a RBI despite going 0-for-4.
The Lugnuts continued to be active on the base paths, as second baseman Jonathon Berti swiped two bags to bring his season total to 10, right fielder Kevin Pillar stole his ninth bag of the year, and Hawkins also chipped in with a theft, his fourth of the season. Two of the four bags that the three Lugnuts combined to steal were thefts of third base.
Left-handed Lugnuts starter David Rollins didn’t seem to have his best stuff but still put together a good outing. Although he gave up a season-high three runs, only two were earned and he allowed just three hits in 3 2/3 innings. Keeping up with his impressive strikeout totals, the Texas native fanned five, bringing him to 31 in 27 innings so far this season (10.3 K/9).
Kramer Champlin earned the win after allowing a pair of earned runs on three hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings, while lefty Tyler Ybarra earned his third hold of the season after getting four strikeouts in two strong innings. Stud closer Ajay Meyer struck out the side around a base hit in a scoreless ninth to earn his Midwest League-leading 10th save.